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Hello, Quarter-Life Crisis

March 10, 2011

Okay, it’s official. I’m in the throes of a quarter-life crisis. I feel completely lost as to what I want to do with my life. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Hell, I can’t decide if I’m grown up already.  

My lease with my apartment complex runs out in July, and they are sending e-mails and leaving flyers on my door offering all sorts of incentives for me to renew my lease early. I feel incapable of making a decision. Every time I think about renewing my lease, my chest tightens and I feel like I can’t breathe. My car is starting to slowly fall apart – nothing big (knock on some serious wood), but little annoying things like the trim falling off, needing to replace three of my rims, and I’ve had an inordinate amount of flat tires in the past six months (but to be fair, that can be mostly blamed on my poor driving abilities and the fact that I can’t avoid a pot hole to save my life).

I’m at a point, financially, where I can do one of two things: buy a new car, or buy a condo. I feel silly renting when I could buy, but I’m scared to buy when I have no idea where I want to live. I have no real desire for a new car, not being much of a car person anyway, so that doesn’t sound all that exciting to me either.

It’s been almost a year since I moved out of my ex’s house, and I feel like nothing has changed. I’d hoped by now to be some sort of amazingly changed person, with a whole new lease on life. I wanted to be able to say at this point that I am completely healed, whole again and ready to take on the world. I wanted to be in love, skinny (who doesn’t want to be skinny?), moved on and successful. But frankly, I’m stuck. I’m still sad. Not all the time, but enough. I still miss him. There are many times that I still feel like a stranger, an alien, in my own life. I still sometimes look around my apartment and wonder when this dream will end, and when I will wake up back in Hopewell, next to my ex fiancé and living the life we’d created together.

I remember when I rented my apartment, it was supposed to be temporary. I simply needed a place to stay so I could get out of the holding pattern of living with the man who I loved and would no longer be marrying. Our time for playing house was over. My apartment, as nice as it is and as much as I love it, wasn’t supposed to be a permanent thing. It was just for a year, just until I could figure out what the next step was for me.

tulip, blue sky

The sky is the limit ... right? Photo courtesy of Malgosia Fiebig

A year later, I don’t know what the next step is. I feel this unquenched thirst for adventure – to do something, and do something big. In the past two weeks, I have harbored pipe dreams of moving to Washington, D.C., New York City, somewhere else. Anywhere else. I’ve imagined the conversations I’d have to persuade my company to allow me to work in one of our other offices and start over in a new city. After my Astro John reading, I Googled opportunities with the Peace Corps and Habitat for Humanity. Then, I started working on my bucket list. I want to go sky diving. I want to go speed dating. I want to pack up everything and move to the Caribbean (but then I read this article and wasn’t quite sure I could handle real life on a Caribbean island). I want to get married and have two and a half children. I want to get a dog, although I’m terribly allergic, just so I will have someone to love me and wait for me when I get home. I want to pack up everything, make Simply Solo a travel blog and drive across country. I want to be a different person entirely. I don’t want to recognize myself in the mirror.

I’ve never seen a mid-life crisis in real life; I’ve only seen the stereotypical storyline in the movies. A middle-aged man goes out and gets a 20-something girlfriend, a red convertible, hair plugs, whatever. Is that person really aware of how ridiculous they seem? Maybe not. My feelings and confusions feel totally justified. And every pipe dream I’ve had seems totally doable – for about two days. And then I latch onto another.  One day I want to move to D.C. The next, I’m buying a condo in Richmond. The next, I’m staying in my apartment and buying a car. The next, I’m buying nothing, and saving my money up so that I can (in a gazillion years) quit my job and pursue writing. Then, Chef and I are moving to New York City together. Never mind I don’t actually want to live with him here, but somehow it’s a great idea for us to move together.

I called my dad last night to ask him what he thought about the condo situation, and whether he thought it was a good idea for me to buy. I should tell you that my dad isn’t the easiest guy to talk to. He was in the military for more than 20 years, and he can be tough. I think that God purposely gave him three daughters and no sons to soften him a little, to challenge him to be more sensitive. As I was talking with him, I suddenly began to cry. I said, “I don’t know, Dad. I’m just feeling really lost. I don’t know what to do.” I expected him to tell me to toughen up, stop my whining and get my butt in gear. This would be the traditional response from my father. Or, if I were a kid, he’s probably pull the, “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” But, what he said shocked me.

“We’re all lost, Catherine. Don’t you think I’m lost? I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.” I’ve never heard my father admit something like that. I don’t know if it has anything to do with his recent prostate cancer diagnosis (which, hopefully, is gone now), but it was startling to me to hear such raw honesty.

I am lucky. I have no one in my life to answer to but myself. I can really do whatever I want to do. I have no children, no husband, no house, no dog, no … anything. I have a job that I enjoy, a family that I love, an outlet for my writing and supportive friends. But my lack of responsibility is overwhelming. My freedom to do whatever I want feels restricting. My life feels like it hasn’t even begun, and I can do whatever I want to do with it. There may be no other time that I have this opportunity.

And it’s terrifying.


80 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2011 10:15 am

    Oh Catherine. What is beautiful about this post is… You have already realized the most important part!

    —Your possibilities are ENDLESS!—

    You can do whatever you want to do! At times I dream of moving to NYC (as I have since a young girl) but I cannot do so because my boyfriend is in the U.S. Navy and we have to stay where he is stationed. (I am not complaining, I am just mentioning to give you a visual!)

    I know that your heart is hurting, but a year is still not long enough to heal your pain. And you know what? That’s okay. Life wouldn’t be the adventure that it is if we didn’t hurt, if we weren’t thrown unimaginable curves. How boring would it be if every day were perfect? How much fun would blogging be if your entire life made sense? Exactly… It wouldn’t be fun; it wouldn’t be life.

    In time, (and I hate this saying but it is true) you will heal. It is the same with many things- death, breakups… It all starts to hurt less through the years. Give yourself the time you need.

    BUT, while you are healing, remember what is amazing about what you have been given. You have been given another chance to make your life exactly what you want it to be. You have the brain, the heart and the finances. Get out there girl, and go where your heart takes you.

    “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

    • March 15, 2011 9:37 pm

      Brittany,
      You are right – so many possibilities. It’s almost overwhelming! But you are right – what if my life were perfect? I certainly wouldn’t have anything to write about. And, you enjoy the good moments more when you survive the bad. I love what you’ve said here “You have the brain, the heart and the finances.” You are so right and I am very lucky. I need to add that to my daily affirmations 🙂
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. March 10, 2011 11:13 am

    Adulthood is terrifying! Sorry you are facing these tough decisions. A more positive way to take your dad’s comment is that there is NO wrong choice. You just do the next right thing (or the thing that feels most right) and take it one day at a time. Change happens everyday, even when we don’t always see it 🙂

    • March 15, 2011 9:39 pm

      Tori,
      Thanks – you are right. It’s pretty hard to make a cut and dry wrong decision. Usually you can find good in almost any situation. I’ve just always been so risk-averse, and my life has made it easy to live that way. But now with all the changes, I’m faced with a lot more decisions that I did before. I’ll figure it out – I have to! 🙂

  3. Just Saying permalink
    March 10, 2011 11:17 am

    First replacing the rims on your car will help with the flat tires.

    Rent for another year and start searching of where you want to live and buy then. (getting all your ducks in a row) Get rid of that car if it keeps nickle and diming you.

    Second, come July if you’re still unsure, pack up everything and travel for a year while you’re still able. Otherwise you might regret it later in life, especially if it’s something you’d really like to do. Condo’s and new cars will always be there. Your ability to do whatever you want without children, husband and job working long hours wont be around forever.

    It’s your life. It’s scarey for sure. But you are in charge of your own stars. Only you can change them to make shit happen. Just think how empowering it will be to pick one thing and complete it. No matter what it is.

    I hate my friend Mighty McMullen for always saying this, but the more I do it, the more and more it rings true… and btw it never stops being scary, but so damn rewarding.

    “Change is good! Embrace it!”…. shut up Mighty McMullen. But it’s so true.

    Good luck.
    You have the support of the blog-o-sphere family no matter what you decide to do.

    • March 15, 2011 9:42 pm

      Just Saying – you are completely right on the rims (are you a mechanic? haha!). I had a slow leak on two tires because the rims were bent, and I’ve replaced those. Then, on a fluke, I got a nail in a tire. It could have happened in a brand new car. I don’t think I’m at the point that the car is nickle and diming me (knock on wood), but I definitely will do something if I get there.
      I appreciate your advice here, and you are totally right that condos and new cars will always be around. It is important that I take advantage of this time of my life. And I definitely plan on doing so.
      Thanks for your comment and your support 🙂

  4. March 10, 2011 11:21 am

    What a great post…I am turning 30 next month and have had a lot of the same thoughts in the past year…of course, I have a 10 year old daughter, so I can’t really just pick up and move, but I’ve certainly thought about it! And even the Peace Corps thing and Habitat for Humanity – all of it!

    You are at an incredible time in your life though – no one to answer to but yourself! I don’t know what that would feel like, but it sounds pretty cool.

    Practical advice – Go month to month on your apartment until you decide what you would like to do. There ha NEVER been a better time to buy right now, and just for tax purposes alone, buying a house makes much more sense than buying a car (I’m in the mortgage biz if you can’t tell) but buying a home does kind of stick you to one place.

    You will figure it out – why not take a mini adventure for now, and see how you feel? Will you long to be back in the comfort of what you know and love? Or will you be exhilarated? Maybe that will point your heart in the right direction….

    • March 15, 2011 9:44 pm

      Vinomom,
      So glad I’m not the only one struggling and uncertain! I imagine that your situation, with a daughter, makes things even more complicated. At least I’m on responsible for myself. If I make any mistakes, they are my mistakes alone. I think you are right that a better investment is buying a house/condo…but only if I am going to stick in one place. I really like your idea of a mini adventure. I’m actually looking into options now…
      Thanks for your comment and advice! Good luck with your big decisions too!

  5. March 10, 2011 12:00 pm

    Here’s the deal. I am 37, divorced, no kids and still trying to figure out what to do. I can say one thing for sure if I could do it all again I would not waste one second of my twenties worrying about being married or buying a house or having kids. I would get a cute, small and inexpensive apartment in a safe area close to work or my parents. Actually, if the truth were known I would sell everything and move in with my parents for as long as they would let me. I would buy a nice, new, inexpensive car that gets awesome gas mileage, a long warranty and I wouldn’t spend any more time dealing with car issues again (and maybe you should get the tire insurance? 🙂 Then I would pay off all my debt. I would use my job as a means to have fun! If you like it stay .. if you don’t ..then find a new one. It is just a job. A job should not be your life..it is a way to get money to live your life. I mean, it is nice to do something you like and are proud of but at the end of the day it is only a small part of what makes you happy.

    Once those things were taken care of ..I would have FUN. I don’t mean go out with my friends for a drink ..I mean I would do any damn thing I could think of. If I wanted to go to Africa..I would go. Hot Air Ballon Ride? Sky Diving? Asia? Europe? Whatever it is, GO!! No one to go with? Who cares .. look online! There are tons of single tour groups ..or call me! I’ll go. Look into Contiki Tours .. so much fun and only for 18 – 30 year olds! I would TRAVEL .. everywhere. I would meet amazing people that have seen and done things I have never even imagined. Explore options because there are so many ways to live life. I would expand my mind past the restraints we are given in college .. to have a nice job and get married and have two kids and a dog. LIVE YOUR LIFE. Don’t worry about your ex ..he is your ex now. Don’t worry about being an adult because even if you don’t feel like it you already are.

    There is one thing I have played over and over again in my mind since my divorce. I wish that I had dreamed past meeting a “nice guy and settling down”. I wish that while I was younger, skinner, and had less baggage that I had dressed sexier, had long hair, flirted and met older men. Men that had money to do fun things! To travel and live an exciting life. I am not saying look for a sugar daddy..I am saying that I wish I had considered the possbility of a man in his mid-thirties with an established career that had some baggage and was more appreciative. A man that already has a nice home and a retirement account. A man that knows who he is and where he wants to go. A man that would have appreciated me. Someone to go on fun trips with and experience life in a different way. Someone sexy and fun. Maybe even from another country. I wish I had dared to dream of more than life in suburbia!

    When I was getting a divorce a friend of mine said, “Your life is going to change, but it doesn’t mean it won’t be for the best.” To sum it up .. I would say keep your finances and living situation as simple to maintain as possible .. and then look for all the ways to have a great time! Who knows what amazing things can happen!

    Please read An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser. It is a great book!

    • March 10, 2011 3:38 pm

      I totally agree with Cortney! And if you got an inexpensive new (or new-ish) car, you could gallivant all around the country in it! Fun!

      As “smart” as it would be to buy a house right now, mortgages (and dogs) tie you down. Also, it seems like buying a house would be like trying to continue the life you had with your fiance, only by yourself. You have an opportunity to re-imagine your life, and you should make the most of it. Really, you’re so lucky that you didn’t wind up married to that dude, living that life.

      Also, it doesn’t sound like you’re lost. Lost is when you’re headed somewhere and you lose your way and don’t know where you’re at. Right now you know exactly where you’re at you just have to decide which direction to take. And I think you know which way you wanna go; you just have to embrace it, and run with it full force. So my point, I guess, is don’t just sit around waiting for 2014 to come along 😉

      • March 15, 2011 10:15 pm

        Mandy –
        Wow, you are right and I guess I didn’t really think about it that way. Buying a house would be a lot like I’m trying to continue the path I was on, with or without him. I was kind of thinking that way — I really had hoped to own my home by now. Together, we should have owned a place. So I feel like I’ve had these goals, these life markers, for so long, that I didn’t realize that many of them were tied to him, tied to our relationship. And it certainly isn’t the end of the world if I don’t own my own place by the age of 30 or something. At the end of the day, I just want to be proud of myself and feel like I succeeded. It is going to take me a bit to get there, but I think it’s possible.

        I like your definition of my situation. I’m not lost, I just need to choose which direction to take. That sounds much better 🙂 And I definitely should not wait idly by until 2014…I would go CRAZY! 🙂

        Thanks for your comment!

    • Zak permalink
      March 12, 2011 11:08 am

      Okay, after reading these comments, Courtney said pretty much 99.9% of what I wanted to say, just better.

      And then, to top it off, mandymcadoo said the rest (about a house and pet).

      As a single, 31 year old guy who’s gone through the divorce and otherwise as Courtney described (except the foreign part), I would love to meet someone like you – young, smart, pretty, open to life and ready to blaze her path, but without the baggage most women I’ve been meeting have – dogs, houses, no money, etc.

      • March 15, 2011 11:16 pm

        Thanks Zak. I agree – Mandy and Cortney’s advice was pretty spot on. They, and all these other commenters too, have given me a lot to think about.
        I appreciate your kind words – I hope that more guys out there think the same way you do 🙂 I am, remarkably, baggage free when it comes to many of the things you’ve mentioned here. So thanks for making me feel like a certifiable catch! 🙂
        Appreciate your comment.

    • March 15, 2011 9:52 pm

      Wow, Cortney, what an amazing comment. The life you’ve described here sounds fun, amazing, inspiring… so uncomplicated and free. You have really good points about keeping my situation as unencumbered as possible so I can be free to live the life I choose. This past week I’ve been looking into group travel tours and I’ll definitely check out Contiki, thanks so much for the tip. I really appreciate your advice because it comes from your vast experience and what you maybe wish you would have done differently. But, hindsight is 20/20, so if I were you, I wouldn’t beat myself up about the decisions you’ve made. They are what have made you who you are. I guess we all can only control the future … and looking backward and being bummed doesn’t change anything. Not that I think you are necessarily doing that, but I’m just saying. Your advice here really resonates with me because I certainly don’t want to just settle and I don’t want to have regrets for not living the life I feel I deserve. You said, “I wish that I had dreamed past meeting a ‘nice guy and settling down.'” Wow, that is so deep. That’s what we are all taught to dream about. But maybe, that’s not enough. Or maybe that’s not perfect for everyone. You’ve given me a lot to think about… thanks for the comment! Oh, and I definitely do need to read the book. Thanks for the tip!

  6. March 10, 2011 12:17 pm

    Don’t feel so bad, Catherine. Your dad is right. I’m already in my 40s and I feel pretty lost these days, too. And I harbor some of the same desires as you do. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about packing up and taking a road trip across the country, for instance, but I just don’t have the money to do so. I guess I don’t really believe in “quarter-life” or “midlife” crises…I think these are things everybody goes through at different stages of their lives, depending on the external circumstances. It could happen at 30, 35, 65…whenever. You are not alone. But you’ll figure it out.

    • March 15, 2011 9:55 pm

      Mark,
      Thanks… I think you are probably right. Perhaps everyone has some sort of existential crisis depending on what is going on in their lives. I am fortunate that I am having this crisis when I am young and actually able to act on at least a few of these desires. IMHO, I think you should take a mini road trip – and write about it. I’d love to read your adventures :). Thanks for your encouragement – I know you’ll figure it all out too. Let’s look at this in a positive way – at least we both have an outlet to work through our “lost” moments and it provides some interesting material 🙂

  7. Grey Goose, Dirty permalink
    March 10, 2011 12:18 pm

    Aww Catherine. What a wonderfully honest post. I’ve been right where you are (and some days still am). I thought about moving last year ~ just to get away, be somewhere new, yadda yadda. Then a very wise friend let me know that a change in geography wasn’t going to ‘fix’ what was wrong as you can’t really run away from yourself. I hadn’t realized that was what I was planning, but in the end, it was.

    It’s great that you have a bucket list and dreams and aspirations. If you’re truly not sure of where you want to be or what you want to do, I might suggest holding off on buying a condo for now. Although the market is great, it will tie you down and if you’re not sure you want to stay where you are, then that would be an added factor when/if you decide to move. You’d have to either sell or rent it out.

    I think I tried to be responsible way before my time. It didn’t help. Sure, I bought my 1st house at 20 ~ I also turned down a job at Club Med and one on a cruise ship because it’s wasn’t ‘responsible’. I don’t think i’ll ever look back on my life and regret not buying a house, but I absolutely will regret being too responsible and doing what I thought was ‘right’ and missing out on a whole shitpot of opportunities for fun!

    You’re a great person Catherine and have your whole life ahead of you. We all feel lost at some point. I think when it’s time for you to make a change, you will.

    (sorry for the rambling comment) xoxoxoxoxox

    • March 15, 2011 10:02 pm

      Grey Goose,
      Your friend is so right. A change in geography alone won’t change everything – hell, it might not change anything. I keep thinking about the adventure a change in geography might present… it could be wonderful. Or it could just be a big pain in the butt and I could be lost wherever I end up as well. My dad was in the military and we traveled a lot growing up. I think that has contributed to my feeling of being a little stuck lately. I’m way past due my normal move time. But, I’m an adult now, and I don’t have to move when my dad says we have to move. It’s just kind of hard for me to get used to the concept that I’m here, indefinitely. But, I don’t really feel the impetus to move just yet. Didn’t I tell you I’m a little confused? 🙂

      Thanks for your advice on the condo – I think you are right. If I’m this uncertain, it probably isn’t the best time to make that kind of life decision/purchase. Wow, you turned a down a job on a Club Med cruise ship?? That must have been a tough decision! That sounds like it could have been incredible. BUT – you would have missed out on all the other things you’ve experienced. As another commenter said, I don’t know that there are wrong decisions… all these decisions just lead us to where we end up, good or bad, right or wrong. And remember – it’s not too late to do something just a little crazy, a little irresponsible. It’d make for a great read, too 🙂

  8. Mr. Smith permalink
    March 10, 2011 12:39 pm

    Hello.
    I am back. Sorry I was in the Carribbean for awhile helping out with Habitat for Humanity. I had some free time. What can I say.

    Sounds like things are as normal as ever with you…overthinking things much are we?!

    Being lost is not such a bad thing as long as you are aware and you, my lady, are one of the most aware people on the planet. Perhaps instead of buying a condo or car you could buy a GPS. I don’t think it comes with a life map though.

    My suggestion is to make an old-fashioned fortune-telling cootie catcher as your guide. You’ll find instructions here. http://www.delivermagazine.com/2010/10/make-a-fortune/

    On a serious note it has only been a year after being with someone for so long. It takes time, and chocolate, sometimes ice cream, a few happy hours, family, friends, and perhaps a singles cruise or a trip to Hedonism (I’ve never been by the way).

    Keep on keeping on.

    -smith

    • March 15, 2011 10:06 pm

      Mr. Smith —
      Welcome back!! Missed you around here. Hope your trip to the Caribbean for Habitat was wonderful. You must tell me all about it. Oh wait, I bet you’ll be too busy with your trip for the Peace Corps? 🙂

      You know me… I’m an overthinker through and through. Your comment makes me think about how awesome it would be if we did have life maps. Life would be so much simpler! Although, using a cootie catcher (or maybe even a magic 8 ball) could really be helpful for the tough decisions I can’t force myself to make. Thanks for the tip.

      I’m definitely looking into a singles cruise or something like. Although definitely not Hedonism. LOL. I’m lost – but not quite that lost. Thanks for your comment and support 🙂

  9. March 10, 2011 2:09 pm

    Ah, the crushing reality of true freedom and the agony of indecision. I feel that — totally. I’m sort of in the same place. But I hate my job. Only I’m afraid to quit it. Oi. If it matters what I think, I think you’re doing great.

    Crystal

    • March 15, 2011 10:07 pm

      Thank you Crystal. I know you are feeling some of the same stuff. I really am hoping that for you, school will help you out of any rut you may be in. I’m so excited about your opportunities. Thanks for your support – I’m working through it and it means a lot to me that you think I’m doing well :). It’s funny, I don’t even know you, but your vote of confidence means a ton!

  10. March 10, 2011 2:32 pm

    If you really want to travel, I would do it now before you buy a house/get “the” job/get “the” guy…..!!! I have a house and all I want to do is travel for a year or 2. I feel tied to it though. Luckily, I lived abroad when I was younger and I get to travel a few times a year. I’ve no doubt that I will get to visit all the places I want to, but it won’t be as easy as just packing up and going. Go for it while it’s easy!

    • March 15, 2011 10:10 pm

      You are so right – travel is something that is best left to the young and unencumbered. Thanks for reminding me that this is a good time for me. I can imagine it would be much tougher if I owned a house like you did. But, I do hope that you’ll be able to visit every place you want, house or no house. You deserve it!

  11. March 10, 2011 3:39 pm

    Catherine, I love this post.

    Mostly because I can relate so much. I did this myself at the end of last year, but with a husband, house, and 2 dogs holding me down. I quit my job and kept the rest, but honestly, who knows how far I would’ve gotten if all cords had been severed?

    You have an extremely unique opportunity here, and I think you’re just now starting to feel it. What you’re calling a quarter-life crisis is really the reality of your situation – the excitement, the flexibility, the freedom all rushing at you at once. Like you said, the lack of responsibility is overwhelming. You’re afraid to make a “wrong” decision, but your dad was right – we’re all lost, and therefore, there are no wrong decisions. There will never be a way to go back and see how life would be if we’d made different choices, so you just have to go with your gut and live it up!

    Obviously you need to do what you feel is best in the end. But if it were me, I’d probably choose the middle road. I wouldn’t buy a condo if I’m not sure I even want to continue living in the same city. But I wouldn’t want to just pick up and move somewhere random, either. I’m loving the idea of a cross-country road trip. You could even scout out potential future residences along the way. In fact, I’ve been toying with that myself! So spend the money to spruce up your car and get going!

    Oh, and feel free to pick me up in NC on the way if you want some company. 🙂

    Just whatever you do, don’t just think about it forever. Actually do something! Even if it’s just crossing skydiving off your bucket list. I can tell you from experience, it’s ah-MAZ-ing!

    • March 10, 2011 3:40 pm

      Oh, and I didn’t mean to say “holding me down” in such a negative way. I just meant… keeping me grounded. Does that make sense?

      • March 15, 2011 10:23 pm

        Absolutely. I didn’t read it that way at all, but it’s a good clarification. 🙂

    • March 14, 2011 11:54 am

      Catherine, listen to everything Katie said here. She’s been telling me the same thing for the last few months for my own very similar dilemma.

      • March 15, 2011 11:19 pm

        Thanks, Matthew. Katie is wise beyond her years… I am definitely paying close attention to her advice. Maybe if we both follow it we’ll both be a-ok? 🙂

    • March 15, 2011 10:21 pm

      Katie,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I think in many ways that you are right, it does feel like the reality of everything has just started to sink in the past couple of months. For so long, I avoided the reality of what had happened and how much my life had changed by dating. Flirting. Going out with friends. Drinking wine. Dating dating dating. Falling for Chef. Breaking up with Chef. Now in a weird middle ground with Chef. BUT – after all of that – I finally started spending some time alone. Thinking about what had happened, and thinking about the future. I took a lot of the emphasis off of dating and going out – and suddenly, by myself without distractions, I started to feel confused, worried and scared about the future. But I’m also really excited and I feel like there could be some great things for me out there. You are so right – I don’t want to sit around and think too much, without actually doing anything. I must take steps…even small…to build the life that I’m starting to realize I want.

      I think you are so strong for pursuing your dreams and your passions, even with a husband, a home, etc. That must have been very scary. And still, I feel like you have so much ahead of you. I can read it in your blog posts. I’m really excited to see what’s in store for you too!

      And If I go on a road trip, I’ll definitely save a seat for you 🙂

  12. 2NewBeginnings permalink
    March 10, 2011 4:26 pm

    I am sorry you are going through a rough time. I know it’s scary, but yet exciting at times as well. I’m going through the same thing. Currently going through a divorce, and I question and ponder every decision at times. I question this, I question that. I think about my kids, every decision I make will effect their entire life. What if I make a mistake? But, I think to myself what if I don’t do anything and just sit wondering what if? That’s just as bad! It’s time you put yourself first (believe me I’m pointing the finger right back at myself) don’t be afraid to make a wrong decision but at the same time don’t be completely reckless. LIVE!!! LIVE!!! Of course you are going to have different emotions from day to day, especially about the ex, because you spent a lot of time, dreams, etc with him. Don’t feel like you have to have the answer for everything. Just be willing to look for the answer and embrace whatever comes your way. Take a road trip with some of your friends or take a solo trip getting to really know the real Catherine. Embrace this time, cause although sad at times, you will never get to experience this moment again. So LIVE!

    • March 15, 2011 10:27 pm

      2NewBeginnings,
      Thanks so much for your comment. It was like an inspirational mantra that I will have to keep reminding myself. LIVE!! 🙂 I think you are right – you can only ponder every decision for so long before you are just wasting valuable time. I’m really starting to feel like if we are careful, and thoughtful about those that are important to us, we can’t make a wrong decision or a mistake. They will all just be decisions… and then we’ll deal with the consequences, good or bad. And there is always going to be some good.
      Thanks for the pep talk, and now I want you to reread it for yourself too! I know you’ve had some tough times recently…but you are so strong, and you will be OK. LIVE 🙂

  13. March 10, 2011 4:34 pm

    This is a wonderful post, Catherine! You’ve come a long way in a year, but I know that doesn’t mean things are easy. Just remember you are amazing and have the opportunity to do whatever you want to do!

    • March 15, 2011 10:28 pm

      1littleprick,
      Thanks so much! Right back at you – you’ve come so far as well, especially after your diabetes diagnosis, with your blog, etc. We’re both very lucky and we have many opportunities ahead of us.

  14. March 10, 2011 4:34 pm

    Exactly, yup, you got it. Did I say ditto? Yes, I agree with previous posters – beautiful and scary. Your words hit home. Girl, do they ever.

    I think you’ve put a lot of pressure on yourself. Some pressure’s good! It’s makes us strive for better. However, at some point, it will drive us to be self-critical and negative. Not worth your time.

    I struggle with feeling like my life had a plan all mapped out, and now that is gone. Sounds like you miss that comfort too? Don’t fret. I’m learning to appreciate it. Embrace the opportunities. But do what feels right to you, and don’t worry about cocking up. It happens. And, you’ll be fine. You’re doing pretty great if you ask me.

    • March 15, 2011 10:30 pm

      KD,
      You know very well how much pressure I put on myself. I think it’s both a flaw and a positive attribute. It’s gotten me where I am now… but it’s possible it’s held me back at different times in my life.

      I totally miss my life plan all mapped out, just like you do. I guess it’s just taking me a bit longer to appreciate it than I’d hoped.

      Thanks for your encouragement – and I think you are doing pretty awesome as well. I’m so proud of your progress – and I don’t even know you in person! 🙂

  15. BeneathTheSpinLight permalink
    March 10, 2011 5:01 pm

    I feel you on a lot of these issues.
    I’m super stuck. Just about to graduate with a degree but no job prospects and no place to live after I move out of my apartment in May. I have big dreams of San Francisco, a city I’ve never visited in a state I’ve never visited, but my only outlet for finding out about the opportunities in this city is craigslist and one bedroom apartments are a little out of my price range.
    Also, reading about your Dad made me cry. I had a breakdown on the phone with my Dad last night and since his diagnosis (he also has prostate cancer) he’s been a little lost with giving me advice. Since he’s the one I usually rely on for life lessons, this has me even more petrified about the future.
    In two months I’m done with classes. I’m starting the rest of my life. Except the rest of my life includes… nothing.
    “My freedom to do whatever I want feels restricting. My life feels like it hasn’t even begun, and I can do whatever I want to do with it. There may be no other time that I have this opportunity. And it’s terrifying.” My thoughts exactly.
    Want to move to California with me? Could be lots of fun. We can even get a dog!

    • March 15, 2011 10:36 pm

      Beneath,
      I’m sorry to hear you are feeling stuck too. And I’m also sorry to hear about your dad. I really hope that he’s going to be okay, and soon. It is really hard when the person (or people) we look to for advice are just as lost as us. When you look up to someone so much, and find out they are struggling, it can be a little disconcerting. I mean, if they are stuck, and I think they are so strong, how will I ever survive?! I guess it just shows you how people face their own challenges, and everyone goes through tough times. It’s how you overcome these tough times that really matters.

      I think it’s amazing you have dreams of living in a city you’ve never even visited. Is there any way for you to make a trip out there? I think that would be so helpful for you to figure out if it feels right. And then, you’ll know whether you should scour the Internet for apartments, or even find a roommate to make it happen. It’s doable… you are smart, resourceful, and you’ll have a degree to help you along. I know you can do it.

      Hmmm…maybe I could move to Cali with you. Or at least come visit, considering I’ve never even been on the West Coast!

  16. March 10, 2011 6:25 pm

    Hi Catherine, I’m Grandpa – not your Grandpa, that’s just what I go by on my blog (Grandpa’s Diary). I am going to give you a different perspective and something to think about regarding your dad. What you are going through is pretty typical for lots of people your age with a few different twists to it. I am not trivializing your issues, but I want to convince you to look at another side of things. I don’t know how old your dad is but I do know that once you have been stricken by something like prostate cancer all of the sudden your life takes on a whole different perspective. Suddenly, being the tough love Army Dad is no where near as important as staying alive and loved. Your dad has gotten in touch with the fact that we don’t live forever and his beautiful daughters are more important to him now than they ever were. I know you have a lot to do for yourself but why not consider dedicating a little pay-back time to your dad. In one of my blogs I talk about how precious time is and how the greatest gift you can give to someone is demonstrated by how much time you are willing to spend with them. This time doesn’t have to be in person but it is better if it is. I won’t go on with this lecture, because I hope you get the point by now. You have your whole life to make your adjustments to life, but your dad – not so much as you. One final thing – it has been my experience that the worst time to make very important purchasing decisions or major life changing decisions, as you are wanting to make, is when you are “in crisis”. Too frequently those are “feel good” decisions that later on you wish heavily that you hadn’t made.

    • March 15, 2011 10:40 pm

      Grandpa,
      This is such great advice, thank you for stopping by my blog. I do need to spend more time with my dad, and as morbid as it sounds (and as sad as it may be to admit), he probably doesn’t have as much time as I do. That’s part of the reason I struggle with moving somewhere really far away – I want to be near my dad, and the rest of my family. Family is so important. And I also think you are right about not making decisions “in crisis.” I personally have to be calm and collected to make decisions properly. And I’m not quite there this moment 🙂

      Thanks again for your advice and thoughts – very wise! I’ll need to go check out your site!

  17. mom permalink
    March 10, 2011 10:24 pm

    Hello 1/2 century….Loved your post baby girl, and I know how confused you are. The world is open book to you right now and there are so many opportunities for you to take advantage of follow your dreams and aspirations. In addition, yes dad’s cancer scare was an awaking for all of us on our own mortality. And yes it does change people and hopefully for the better. To love what you have, and he does love you and your sisters as he always has just never learned how to show it.. For me you asked me if I ever felt lost.. I love my life I have a husband who is a gift from god… three strong ASS outspoken beautiful daughters awesome grand children. But now that retirement is 8 months away I want to know what will I do when I grow up!!! Seriously, I am scared to death..In addition, feeling LOST…Lost at 50 sounds like a mid life crisis… Hey am I to old for the peace corp. we could go on the bubby program….I`m free Nov 20th 2010

    • March 15, 2011 10:47 pm

      Mom,
      Your comment was beautiful, thank you very much. I’m sorry you are feeling lost and scared to death – I can’t even imagine being so close to retirement and changing my career. I know that you are going to find something great though. You made the decision to retire in such a thoughtful manner, and I’m sure it was the right decision. It’s just about figuring out what the next step is – for the both of us. I’m afraid, however, that the Peace Corps might just be a cop out for the both of us. Seems like we have to put on our big girl pants and face our uncertain futures – but at least we’re together. PS, I sure hope Kevin isn’t as lost as you, me and Dad are…. cause then we’re screwed!! 🙂 Love you!

  18. March 10, 2011 11:03 pm

    Darlin,

    Every time I read one of your posts it always parallels to my life! Its quite scary and I’ve said this numerous times! And as for feeling like you are still the same a year later after the separation….went through that too. The dust must settle before you can see clearly and move forward. I’m going on my second year of my separation and I am now just being able to look at positions else where. And as for the indecisiveness about places to live and jobs?!?! GUILTY! I just signed my apartment lease for another year yesterday and it took me 10 minutes to put that pen to paper because I was in fact having an panic attack…I told the lady that since my divorce, I have a huge problem with commitments like this! I felt like I was signing my life away to the devil!

    We are at that age where we are starry eyed and ready to do anything! That passion right there and the no fear attitude is what will lead us to where we need to me.

    It’s amazing how we view our parents when we get older. We reach that age when what they say is what they would to a friend or a co-worker. I am pretty good at pin-pointing the responses of my parents and my father is the SAME way….and my mother is always ready to jump to pessimism! But lately, there consoling and advice has been honest and raw and it really makes you realize that they weren’t the fearless “I got everything under control” mom an dad that we saw as children.

    My advice would be just to do what you love and that will help you decide whether you want to stick around and buy a living space or take off to a new city to adventure and purchase that reliable transportation to get around it!

    • March 15, 2011 10:51 pm

      Sarajane,
      Thanks so much for your comment. It’s so nice to hear that someone else struggles with these types of decisions. I imagine it taking me a long time to sign my lease too!!! And I think you are so right about what you said about our parents… they seem to be such different people now that we’ve grown up. But the thing is, they aren’t that different at all. They are just treating us and speaking to us as adults, somewhat peers, and it can be a bit much to get used to. But I value it – it’s a whole new stage in the father/mother-daughter dynamic.

      Thanks also for your advice. It’s good advice at that – how can you go wrong doing what you love?

  19. March 11, 2011 12:00 am

    You know, though, Catherine, it’s true…how many people have the chance to just start from scratch? I read a post recently where the writer did just what you’ve been thinking about–she applied for a job cross-country, landed the position, and moved to a place where she knew no one. It was scary, and now, three years later, she’s thrilled with the life she’s built for herself, mostly because she has built it on her own terms.

    Hugs, friend. Take your time. You’ll figure it out.

    • March 15, 2011 10:53 pm

      Thank you Maura. Even your simple line of “take your time” makes me feel much better. I really don’t have to rush any of this. But, I feel like I’m getting closer to some decisions about my life. Things will work out 🙂

  20. March 11, 2011 12:38 am

    I call what you are going through a “cross roads”. You have come to the point in your journey with several different possibilities in front of you. This won’t be the only time in your life you feel this way. Mark is right, we all feel this way at some point in our lives. Make your list, read it, think about it. You don’t have to re-new your lease right now. The right answer for you will appear eventually. If I was lucky enough to be in your shoes…I would be in New York yesterday.
    Cheers sweet girl, you will figure it out 🙂

    • March 15, 2011 11:03 pm

      Edmonton –
      Thanks for your comment. I do like to look at it as a crossroads. And, I’m trying to look at it in a way that either way is the right way – whatever I choose. There will be good in whatever decision I end up making. I appreciate our words of support!

  21. March 11, 2011 3:06 am

    My quarter-life crisis spurred me to do some of the best things I’ve ever done. Like you I made a bucket list and discovered how varied, fulfilling, wonderful and confidence-building life can be when I take the plunge to do some of the things that tickle my imagination. It has its down sides (I’m now 30 and still a nomad), but it’s fabulous, so I say wholeheartedly that if there are things you want to do then do them!!!

    When my relationship broke up last year I seized the freedom to do VSO (kind of the British equivalent of Peace Corps). So I moved to Zambia from London and am loving it. The breakup was terrible but it’s led me to a job I love, a life I love, and a man who I’m starting to worry I’m falling in love with (a hottie Peace Corps guy as it happens – another fine reason to give it a whirl!).

    So celebrate your quarter-life crisis, because it’ll give you the nudge towards some fabulously happy experiences.
    x

    • March 15, 2011 11:06 pm

      Annie,
      Thanks so much for your comment. So great to hear someone make it out of their quarter-life crisis alive! And it sounds like you did such great things during yours. It seems like you’ve built an amazing life for yourself and really experienced many things. I think it’s telling how I feel jealous of the life you are leading. I wish you the very best of luck with your hottie Peace Corps guy (sounds AMAZING) and all your adventures. I hope to take a page out of your book!

  22. March 11, 2011 6:17 am

    Earlier this year, I went to a retreat with a bunch of young adult Quakers. I was amazed to find out that NONE OF US had it all figured it. I always thought I was the only one who didn’t know what to do next, or how to get there but face it: if you’re in your 20s and have even the slightest inclination towards a non-traditional career (ie. writing), you’re gonna feel like a hot mess. Hang in there! (And I’d say take the money and travel… but that’s probably why I moved back in with my parents a year ago, lol 🙂 )

    • March 15, 2011 11:09 pm

      Kat,
      What!? Even the Quakers don’t have it figured out? I’m really screwed! LOL 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing – it’s good to know I’m not alone. And about taking the money and traveling? That sounds amazing… and I’m trying to find a middle ground where I don’t have to move back in with my parents in order to do this (not that there is anything wrong with that – can be a very practical decision, for sure!). But I definitely want to experience more of the world. Right now, I’m just working on the details to get there. Appreciate your thoughts.

  23. March 11, 2011 10:29 am

    I’m pretty much where you are. And it’s annoying as hell. And it’s tough.

    But I know I’ve realized a year flies by, so if you spend the next year getting things in a row, I’d think that’s productive. Make a plan. You said you want to be skinny—what exactly does that mean? You said successful—define those terms. Travel? Put marks on a map.

    You can do it!

    -L

    • March 15, 2011 11:10 pm

      Lucky,
      Plan… oh, you know me so well. You are right, I need a plan. That’s the thing that’s been lacking in my life some. I’ve tried to embrace that my old plan isn’t gonna happen, and that’s okay (well I’m trying to be okay with it)…but in the process, I’ve been neglecting creating a new plan. You are right – I need to define what I want and how to get there. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  24. ambsterdam permalink
    March 11, 2011 11:14 am

    I am so glad you posted this! I feel like we are floating on the same life raft…I sure hope your father is wrong though. I don’t want to be lost forever. I guess if I am going to be everyone else might as well be too. Sorry to ramble. Good luck! Do something really fun.

    • March 15, 2011 11:11 pm

      ambsterdamn,
      Glad that you could empathize with this post – and thanks for commenting, it helps me feel less lost as well. I don’t think we’ll be lost forever. I guess I think you find yourself, get on a good track, and sometimes get lost here or there. But maybe it’s these times that realy define us? I sure hope so.
      Good luck to you – I do want to do something fun, and you should too!!!

  25. March 12, 2011 3:48 am

    Beautiful post. Sounds like you’re in a tough spot, and a scary spot.

    It’s not for us to advise, but suffice to say you’re not alone. Why not go on a little trip instead of moving somewhere permanently? That way you can sample the adventure of travel, sort out if you’re ready for a big life change or if you really should invest in a condo.

    Or heck, go on a couple dates. Men make everything more fun ;D

    x

    • March 15, 2011 11:14 pm

      Wink’d,
      Appreciate your advice. I do tend to gravitate toward less drastic decisions -so a little trip would be perfect. Just enough to give me a taste of what I’m craving, and I can see just how badly I want it.
      LOL on dating. It’s funny – NOT dating is what I finally got me thinking about my future. Not my future with a guy – but MY future. I think dating is really fun too, and I love me some men… but I’m finding that dating is a distraction for me right now. It takes me off track. And if I want to build a life for myself, I need to focus on me. That’s what I’m pausing the dating. But it’ll always stay in my back pocket 🙂

  26. March 12, 2011 2:56 pm

    I’ve been there before….the daunting decision whether or not to buy a condo when I was solo. So I took at the plunge at 31 yrs. It was mind-boggling at that time to sign for a mortgage and didn’t borrow from anyone else.

    And then I met my dearie… 4 months later. Yes, incredible.
    But instead of moving in with him or vice versa, I kept my home, lived in it (14 yrs.) and paid it off. Meanwhile he and I spent tons of time at each other’s home, biked to each other’s place.

    Why didn’t I live with him at that time? Partially because I really wanted to ..prove..to myself I could did it myself: support myself financially in the broadest sense of the word. And I did. It is an empowering feeling for anyone who is single.

    He also had 2 teenager children where he was a part-time father after a divorce.

    I didn’t want to become their step-mother. Motherhood was never part of my plans. It just was unnecessary heartbreak and me attempting to be their mother when already they had a birth mother who was a good mother to them?? Come one, no point competing for their loyalties. He is relieved too that he didn’t have to deal with headache of mediating between me and his children if I tried to be their mother.

    Besides I have 7 nieces and nephews from 3 sisters, so I had a blood, living in same city relationship with these children, whom I felt closer. It’s just easier for me to be an aunt, pyschologically.

    He and I have also lived in 2 different provinces later on for 2 yrs. because his firm forced him to relocate or he lose part of his pension. Initially it was hard. So we communicated every night by phone, Internet. He also went off cycling solo for 1.5 yrs. in New Zealand.

    Rather than be resigned, we eagerly shared with one another the events of each day, etc.

    Life is full remarkable surprises, Catherine.

    I am know well 2 people who have each committed suicide. They were married to caring spouses. Seriously. There are children in those marriages.

    A spouse will not fulfill all one’s needs for every stage of life. No, it’s not realistic. I cannot begin to emphasize this enough.

    I don’t know what city you live in, but in the U.S. the housing market is probably depressed in terms of pricing (compared to Canada), but now might be a good time to buy.

    • March 15, 2011 11:23 pm

      Jean, thanks for your comments and for sharing your story. Your situation with your partner definitely is different from the norm, but it’s nice to hear how it has worked for you. It just goes to show you that you don’t need to have a cookie-cutter life or love to be OK. I don’t know if I could live apart from my life partner as you have, but if it works for you, more power to you! I agree that a spouse will not fulfill all my needs. Actually, right now, I’m not even looking for the one. I’m not looking for someone to share the rest of my life with. I’m just trying to decide what I want for MYSELF for the rest of my life… and go from there. And this is just part of my journey.

      Thanks again for sharing 🙂

  27. March 12, 2011 8:26 pm

    In reading all this, I realize I’m probably more risk adverse compared to others. I did take a amonth long trip to Europe when I was still looking for work. But I was not willingly unemployed.

    Only once in my life, I voluntarily left a good-paying job… relocated and moved to another province to live with my partner. I did find jobs thereafter, but it was tough. I wouldn’t leave a job ..just to travel.

    I guess cycling has given me many opportunities to travel outside of my home cities to see and experience alot of different things.

  28. babylon7r permalink
    March 13, 2011 9:20 pm

    A new car isn’t an investment, it actually builds up extra costs; so if you don’t really need a new car, investing a few $ in getting the current one up and running properly sounds like a good idea. Also I wouldn’t block my $ in a house/apartment if I wasn’t 100% sure I want to live in that area. ps: nice blog 🙂

    • March 15, 2011 11:18 pm

      Babylon,
      Thanks for the advice. I think you are pretty right on the car situation, that’s what I’m thinking at this point too. And it does seem a little crazy to put money into a condo if I’m not feeling sure. I’m leaning toward just waiting right now, and maybe using some extra money for travel. I have the rest of my life to buy a car or a house!
      Appreciate your comment!

  29. March 14, 2011 12:18 pm

    I can 100% relate because I am exactly where you are with this. Mine has come to this: do I want to stay in KC or move back to LA?

    I won’t bore you with the details and Pros and Cons, but it’s been something haunting me for the last few months. And I find myself scared out of my bloody mind about making the “wrong” decision.

    I was lucky. My lease was up at the end of January and a couple of my best friends knew I was in this purgatory so they invited me to move into their house and use their spare bedroom while I decided what I wanted to do.

    I won’t lie. It isn’t easy. But I will offer this bit of advice as someone who feels like he knows absolutely how you are feeling; part of me truly knows how rare these situations actually are. The freedom. The ability to change up your life while it’s just your life and you don’t bear the responsibility for anyone else.

    I think it’s coming down to Fear vs Happiness, in a way. If fear is the only thing that keeps someone from doing something, then they aren’t really living the life they really want to.

    • March 21, 2011 7:27 pm

      Matthew, thanks for your comment and apologies for my delay in replying. I can imagine changing cities is a very big (and hard) decision. For me, Richmond has become my home, and all these other cities are foreign places that are just possibilities. But they have no semblance of home. It must be particularly hard for you because both places probably have a feeling of home.

      I think it’s awesome that your friends are allowing you to stay with them. What a great solution! And I think you are right on – we are in a very rare situation. This probably won’t happen for either of us again in our lives. So, we’re lucky – even if it’s daunting as hell. I like your analysis of Fear vs. Happiness. I will try not to act of of fear – but also, I shouldn’t act or do something “big” because I feel like it’s what I’m “supposed” to do. Ahh, this is tough. We’ll get through it!

  30. March 14, 2011 1:38 pm

    Catherine,

    So wise yet so lost. How can that be?

    Honestly, I get where you are at. Not entirely, but I get it. A year ago I thought I would be living with my ex, far away from the city, with a job that I was passionate about. Today, I live with a roommate (ugh) in the city, a new boyfriend and well, just a job. My lease is ending in July as well, and it scares the hell out of me to think about where I will be in August. Should I sign another year lease? Definitely not at the place I am currently, but somewhere else? Should I move back home (EEKK!!!)?? What I would love to do is to travel before I have any real expenses. The only difference is I don’t have money saved up, I have a major school debt that is keeping me stuck here, doing this job, living with a roommate to save money.

    I think you have just proved you’re grown up. How? Because a grown up would think about everything else, and would take everything else into consideration when making such a major decision. And I believe that becoming an adult is reward enough for everything you’ve been through. Maybe next year you should take that time to now figure out who you are as an adult. Wherever that takes you!

    • March 21, 2011 7:30 pm

      Amanalynn,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry you’ve been struggling with some of these decisions as well, but it’s nice to hear I’m not alone out here. I mean, what is it about signing a lease that is so damn stressful? I mean – worst comes to worst – you break the lease. We aren’t signing away our first born here! Yet, it feels like it sometimes. Thanks for what you said about being an adult… I feel like I’m getting there :). Not sure I’m 100% ready to be an adult yet! That’s part of the reason I don’t know what to do – I know what an adult would do, but I don’t wanna! Haha. Right now I’m leaning toward spending some money on travel/living… I can worry about buying a condo later.
      Good luck to you!! 🙂

  31. March 14, 2011 3:59 pm

    Might I suggest a website, I believe it is http://www.stratejoy.com. It is a program for people like us (well maybe not me because I’m 40, but definitely for those suffering a quarter life crisis). I love her program and am doing it myself. i commited to doing it for 30 days and so far…it’s pretty enlightening. You should at least check it out…

    • March 15, 2011 11:26 pm

      He Who Laughs Last,
      Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely check this out. Good luck with it 🙂

  32. March 14, 2011 9:00 pm

    Thanks all for your comments! I appreciate everyone’s thoughts, encouragement and advice. I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to to respond to all of them – had a little too much fun this weekend and am still recovering :). Will respond to everyone in the next two days – but in the meantime, thank you!

  33. Amy permalink
    March 15, 2011 8:06 pm

    Wow..your posts are always thought provoking and so relatable. I think back to when I was 25-all the important life puzzle pieces were falling into place…graduated from college, landed a good job, got married. My life continued on that predictable trajectory..two years later had a child, moved out of starter home into a bigger house in suburbia. Life was comfortable and predictable even if my marriage wasn’t the best. Fast forward to today..I’m 36,recently separated, about to refinance the house in my name alone…talk about being scared and lost! I have days where I feel totally optimistic that life holds new potential and other days that I think I’m going to die alone in this big ass house.maybe turn into crazy cat lady(not that I currently own any but you see where I’m going with this). I have days like you where I wish I could wake up and be back with husband-“back to normal” and what was safe and comfortable…even though my rational mind knows I’m better off without him. I mean if I really scrutinize our relationship over the years maybe we shouldn’t have married in the first place. I guess my point is after all my incoherent rambling is this- I envy your position at 25…not married to the wrong guy living a safe “half” life, not tied down to some 30 year mortgage…your life has so much untapped kick-ass potential no matter what you decide to do.

    • March 21, 2011 7:35 pm

      Amy,
      Thanks for your comment. It really resonated with me. I can imagine how hard it must have been for you, navigating all the changes you’ve seen in the past year. And what you said about sometimes wishing you could wake up “back to normal”… I am so there with you. My current life has yet to feel normal, my old life felt normal. I’m hoping after time that will change. You are right, I am very lucky to be going through such a situation when I am young and have no responsibilities. I particularly appreciate your comment because it’s such a good reminder of that. As far as your situation, this is a hard time, but wow, how empowering! There are so many opportunities ahead of you as well – and you are so strong, and it will all work out. I think your life has some kick-ass potential too – you’ve learned some serious life lessons, and you are only going to be better off because of it, I think. Take care!

  34. 2blu2btru permalink
    March 16, 2011 10:45 am

    I definitely know how you feel. I’ve been having a quarter life crisis since at least last January, but probably since I turned 22. My life hasn’t gone according to plan, at least not my plan. I suspect I don’t even have the right road map for the life I have, but rather a road map of someone else’s existence. It’s amazing how out of place and alien we can seem to ourselves.

    I try to remind myself that just because things aren’t happening in my time doesn’t mean they won’t happen, and that just because I have no idea where I am or where I’m going doesn’t mean I’m lost. It also doesn’t mean I won’t end up exactly where I need (and want) to be.

    For weeks now, I’ve been waking up thinking about various poems, but the one stuck in mind today is the Robert Frost one, with two roads in a wood. I’m on the one less traveled by, I guess you could say. I’m hoping that makes all the difference.

    I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Just start doing one or two things a month that you love or always wanted to try. Cultivate a passion and see what happens. That’s what I’m *trying* to do.

    • March 21, 2011 7:38 pm

      Sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with this too – the more I talk with people, the more I think that everyone struggles in this way at some time in their life. It is the decisions we make and how we make it through challenging times that define us. I think it’s great advice to do a few things a month that I love. I’ve been trying to do more of that in general, focusing on the things I enjoy and making sure to make time to fit them into my life. It does make a world of different – it gives you something to look forward to, no matter how worried you may be about your current life. Thanks for your comment!

  35. March 20, 2011 8:31 pm

    I love this post. It goes to show that no matter what age you are… we all get scared!
    But you know the great thing about your situation…. you have that choice, you are in that stage in your life where you have options. Yes options are scary because what if you don’t choose the right one? However if you didn’t have options, then that would be the real scary prospect, having to live the same life day in day out knowing there is nothing you can do about it.

    Everything will come to you in a good time, your in your 20’s. Don’t feel pressured to have children, buy a house, a new car or even be expected to know where you are going in life… Life is a journey, yes we all want to get from A-Z but it’s what comes in between that makes our life worth living!

    P.s Love your blog 😀

    • March 21, 2011 7:41 pm

      missclhaden20,
      Thanks for the comment and for reading! The choice and all the options are almost the hardest part! I feel like it’d be an easier decision if my options were a little more limited! But I guess that’s complaining about good fortune … you are a jerk if you complain about all the hassles of winning the lottery, right? 🙂 I’m definitely trying not to pressure myself to do all the things you mentioned – I have plenty of time!
      Thanks again – great advice!

Trackbacks

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